Dendias: Greece has the misfortune of having a systematically delinquent neighbour

Nikos Dendias

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias participated today in an online conference hosted by the Hellenic Society of International Law and International Relations on “Greek Foreign Policy.”

The minister during his online participation referred to the values ​​and principles that govern Greek foreign policy, emphasising that respect for international law is its cornerstone.

Nikos Dendias
Nikos Dendias speaking during the conference.

He stressed the importance of Greece’s participation in European and Euro-Atlantic institutions, as well as the strengthening of the country’s bilateral relations both in the Balkans and in the wider Eastern Mediterranean and Asia.

The Minister also made special reference to provocative Turkish behavior against Greece and Cyprus.

The head of Greek diplomacy in his speech stressed the following:

  • Greek foreign policy is based on solid principles and values.
  • Through the strategic dialogue we have upgraded relations with the U.S. The latter do not hesitate, for the first time, to publicly denounce Turkish provocation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • The U.S. more broadly supports the Southern Energy Corridor that we aspire to use to  transport natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean, through Greece, to the rest of Europe.
  • We attach particular importance to our bilateral relations with EU Member States and the wider region.
  • This is in addition to the multilateral cooperation schemes that we have developed, together with Cyprus, with Eastern Mediterranean countries.
  • The Philia Forum, which we successfully organized on February 11, is tangible proof.
  • These are based on adherence to international legality, including the Law of the Sea.
  • We consider our relations with homogenous countries to be extremely important in addressing regional challenges.
  • These challenges include the chronic conflicts in Syria and Libya, but also the strong intervention of Turkey in the region.
  • We are also stepping up our cooperation on horizontal issues, such as immigration and terrorism.
  • I am talking about Egypt, Israel, but also Gulf countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Did the Greek Foreign Minister refer extensively to the Turkish Question, to Turkey’s provocation and aggression?

“Let me remind you of the escalating and sometimes overlapping crises faced by the Mitsotakis government,” he said.

“Based on contempt for international law, the escalating Turkish provocation began, from November 2019, on the basis of the ideology of the Blue Homeland, with:

  • the submission of coordinates of illegal maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean, the infamous Turkish-Libyan Zone of demarcation of zones,
  • the commencement of a TPAO1 licensing process for exploration/exploitation of submarine resources in areas covering the Greek continental shelf, and
  • the culmination of the actions of the Oruç Reis, between August and November 2020, in the Eastern Mediterranean, in an area that covers the Greek continental shelf, accompanied by a number of warships.”
New Turkish NAVTEX for Oruç Reis research for six months
The Oruç Reis.

“As you know, Turkey has shown even greater delinquency in the Cypriot maritime zones, from much earlier,” Dendias highlighted.

“I should add that Turkish violations of the National Airspace and the Greek Territorial Waters surpassed all previous ones in 2020, amounting to 4,605 ​​and 3,106, respectively,” he revealed.

“The Turkish provocation was manifested with the unprecedented incitement of an attempt of mass violation of the Greek borders, with the instrumentalisation of civilians in Evros in February/March 2020,” the foreign minister continued.

Dendias: Greece has the misfortune of having a systematically delinquent neighbour 1
On Turkey’s instructions, illegal immigrants attempted to storm the Greek border in February and March 2020.

“Greece did not hesitate, for the first time, to stand tall and protect its European borders, earning the gratitude of our partners as well,” Dendias said.

Dendias then stressed the difficult situation Greece has by having such an aggressive neighbour.

“Greece has the misfortune to have a systematically delinquent neighbor and the good fortune to be in the European Union, which is a lure and a threat to Turkey, creating a kind of protection zone,” he said.

The foreign minister then took aim at the European Union for member states prioritising their unilateral interests rather than those of the entire bloc.

“If you ask me if we are satisfied, I will tell you that we would like the European Union to take a tougher line on Turkey,” Dendias continued.

“But the European Union is a union of 27 countries and works, fortunately, with unanimity. Sometimes, the national interest prevails over the European,” he said.

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